The Ghosts of America’s Allies

 

070326_r16050b_p465There are people in this world who, though they are not American, believe in the justice of America’s cause. It sometimes happens that they commit their lives to an unkind fate by becoming America’s allies. This has happened in Iraq. Those who most loved America face the cruelest fate. Americans are represented by politicians who are the artisans of this fate.

Like avant-garde art, American foreign policy sometimes is designed to shock decent people. The spectacle of slaughter; the fear for one’s wife or child; the sure humiliation of being foolish about America; petty things and terrible things come together to form a whole; there is nothing to be done but to say what one sees or fears; there is nothing then left but to see those fears come alive.

Today I read this article by National Review‘s Mr. Nordlinger, who seems to moonlight as conservative America’s man of honor. He remembers and says all the things people with their busy lives cannot remember and say. How does that man live–knowing so many shameful things?

Well, before shame turns into guilt, there is something to be done. These men are asking to be allowed to come to America, lest they be slaughtered. These people could be saved if the State Department approves their special visas–they have risked their lives alongside Americans who knew and loved them–as men are wont to do who risk their lives together.

But that was then–this is now–there is no need to help them save for honor. Mr. Nordlinger speaks of men who helped America in Iraq only to be abandoned by the State Department. You and I know that untold numbers have been slaughtered for being America’s allies, and American politicians looked away. This has cost neither America nor those politicians a thing.

Last week, I wrote about Last Days in Vietnam, the documentary about the desperate attempt by American men to save as many Vietnamese as they could before the fall of Saigon. That was 40 years ago. Mr. Nordlinger recalls this as well. How selfless the work those men did; how futile, as policy, when their bosses looked away.

America is very like God–when America turns her face away from people, untold horrors occur. These lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (formed by Yale Law School students) have sued Secretary of State Kerry–they wish to play a kind of Abraham. They wish that these few good men be saved from the onslaught.

Christians not infrequently offer their prayers to those who face ruination. It seems likes these men have nothing left but prayer.

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  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    (dis)Like.

    • #1
  2. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Titus Techera: Like avant-garde art, American foreign policy sometimes is designed to shock decent people.

    I guess.

    Have they tried using avant-garde art installations as “boots on the ground” yet? It wouldn’t entirely surprise me if they have.

    • #2
  3. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    TT, these Iraqis are the latest in a long and shameful cavalcade.  (Recall the Hmong and Lao in John-Kerry-era Vietnam/Southeast Asia, for one?)  This sort of betrayal is a stain on our national honor; what’s left of it, that is…Prayer ongoing.

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Titus Techera: Like avant-garde art, American foreign policy sometimes is designed to shock decent people.

    I guess.

    Have they tried using avant-garde art installations as “boots on the ground” yet? It wouldn’t entirely surprise me if they have.

    Midge, I think the farthest they got is an American version of kabuki theater… Chris Kyle, in his book, talks about how they’d have to do missions & then there would be photo-ops for the Iraqi army, as though they had done it. Or, to speak, in the language of the postmodern types, what was achieved was a simulacrum of a capable, dedicated fighting force in the service of a simulacrum of a country.

    Or maybe we should say, American foreign policy sometimes achieves marvels of virtual reality.

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Nanda Panjandrum:TT, these Iraqis are the latest in a long and shameful cavalcade. (Recall the Hmong and Lao in John-Kerry-era Vietnam/Southeast Asia, for one?) This sort of betrayal is a stain on our national honor; what’s left of it, that is…Prayer ongoing.

    Indeed, there is something harrowing in seeing it again. I saw that documentary by Rory Kennedy–I would rather have forgotten about Saigon–it’s just something I read about or saw on the screen, I was not there–it’s nothing to me–my own were not there. But it is haunting, it’s hard to look away. & reading about this happening again–as I said, harrowing.

    I knew it was happening, because it is the sort of thing that would be happening–Mr. Nordlinger has spoken before of how ashamed he felt talking to Iraqis who loved America unreservedly–or at least enough to risk their lives–because he knew things they do not know. I know those things, too. But being confronted with the facts added something to my suspicions.

    It is not too late–these people are not yet dead. I hope someone can attract the attention of some important person–someone influential in America–or some Senator–someone who can tell America about this–all I can do is tell you about it, as Mr. Nordlinger is telling his far larger audience. Do not let this come to pass-

    • #5
  6. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I hope and pray the State Department acts.

    • #6
  7. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    I’m sorry I forgot to write in the original post: Write your Senator or Congressmen–or what is it you Americans do–tell the editors of Ricochet to speak about this matter–I am advised that untold numbers listen to them. Do not let this come to pass without speaking out-

    • #7
  8. user_1008534 Member
    user_1008534
    @Ekosj

    There is a chilling, haunting story in one of Bernard Fall’s books about the French experience in Vietnam. When the French left, they left behind many partisan groups (GCMA) who were too far away to be rescued.

    Years later, a faint radio message was picked up from deep in North Vietnam. The voice spoke French. The message was to France…

    “Please you SOB’s help us. Parachute us at least some ammunition so we can die fighting.”

    And then there was silence.

    • #8
  9. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Oh that our nation could be made up of those who love America — the place of personal liberty and freedom, not the welfare state. I have long contended that “America” is actually a state of mind that inhabits the imagination of some people everywhere. Immigration is not a problem if it is the gathering into this country of Americans from wherever they may be. Too many who are born here or who immigrate here whether legally or not are not “Americans” in the sense I have described.

    That there are “Americans” both in thought and deed who are being denied asylum here is dishonorable nearly to the point of speechlessness.

    • #9
  10. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Wearing my cynical hat:  Slow-rolling the visas for those Iraqis helps reinforce the “America-as-the-source-of-all-evil” narrative – so *naturally* any and all good Progressives will do so, to the extent they can.

    (Someone, please tell me my cynical hat is too tight?)

    • #10
  11. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    TG:Wearing my cynical hat: Slow-rolling the visas for those Iraqis helps reinforce the “America-as-the-source-of-all-evil” narrative – so *naturally* any and all good Progressives will do so, to the extent they can.

    (Someone, please tell me my cynical hat is too tight?)

    It is. Where’s your angry-&-about-to-complain-to-some-politician breton or cloche? It is badly needed; & pretty.

    • #11
  12. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    The only people Obama’s team will get off the couch for are Gitmo inmates or Beau Bergdalh.

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Petty Boozswha:The only people Obama’s team will get off the couch for are Gitmo inmates or Beau Bergdalh.

    I did not mention in this piece–America has granted many special visas to people who have helped America in Iraq & faced death for doing right. Some people have been treated terribly by the State Department, but not all. That has to be recognized–it mitigates somewhat the callous, shameful wrongdoing–even as the State Department obviously requires being taken to court for its illegal delays to even get a little coverage in the press. So some have done their job; others seem to be playing the death by bureaucracy game, stalling desperate men for an average of four & one half years!

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    What gets to me about this story is the number of State Department relocations that happen every year. Since 1975 they have relocated almost 3 million people. I know they do this. My daughter lives in the Burlington, Vermont, area and has helped in many resettlements over the years.

    If the State Department ignores this, it will be because it was “Bush’s war.” I guarantee you it is political.

    • #14
  15. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    MarciN:What gets to me about this story is the number of State Department relocations that happen every year. Since 1975 they have relocated almost 3 million people. I know they do this. My daughter lives in the Burlington, Vermont, area and has helped in many resettlements over the years.

    If the State Department ignores this, it will be because it was “Bush’s war.” I guarantee you it is political.

    I fear you may be right–in that case, only making a scandal of this could help these men. I hope this lawsuit gets press. Lives may depend on journalists, strangely enough-

    • #15
  16. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Rodin:That there are “Americans” both in thought and deed who are being denied asylum here is dishonorable nearly to the point of speechlessness.

    A memory’s been bugging me since I read Mr. Nordlinger’s article–your comment reminded me of it exactly. I figured out what it is: Here’s an excerpt from Chris Kyle’s book:

    We had four interpreters—terps, we called them—who helped us deal with the locals. At least one & usually two would go out with us. One terp we all really liked was Moose. He was a bad-ass. He’d been working since the invasion in 2003. He was Jordanian, & he was the only one of the terps we gave a gun. We knew he would fight—he wanted to be an American so bad he would have died for it. Every time we got contacted, he would be out there shooting. He wasn’t a great shot, but he could keep the enemy’s heads down. Most importantly, he knew when he could and couldn’t shoot—not as easy a call as it might seem.

    If you know the contempt in which Kyle held most of the Iraqi soldiers, policemen, &c. with whom he had to deal, your admiration for this interpreter must rise to a new level!

    • #16
  17. captainpower Inactive
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    I will be returning to re-read this article and Jay Nordlinger’s article.

    For now I can only offer a few links.

    From the article:

    From imgur:

    From NPR:

    Definitely have to fight apathy and contact my representatives. Will have to spend time to craft my communication in such a way that they don’t immediately dismiss me for being a conservative. (I live in California so … Democrats.)

    • #17
  18. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    captainpower:I will be returning to re-read this article and Jay Nordlinger’s article.

    For now I can only offer a few links.

    From the article:

    From imgur:

    From NPR:

    Definitely have to fight apathy and contact my representatives. Will have to spend time to craft my communication in such a way that they don’t immediately dismiss me for being a conservative. (I live in California so … Democrats.)

    Thanks for the links. I hope I can do another post on IRAP & the stories they tell. I’m glad to hear you mean to contact your Rep., even in California. It does something to fight the feeling that this abandonment is going to happen again-

    • #18
  19. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Seems to me they should come in as illegals like everybody else. Then our goverment would fight tooth and nail to give them, well everything.

    • #19
  20. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Fake John Galt:Seems to me they should come in as illegals like everybody else.Then our goverment would fight tooth and nail to give them, well everything.

    They have more right than most to say they do the jobs Americans won’t do–they might add, jobs that Americans did want done & to which they agreed!

    • #20
  21. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Fake John Galt

    Seems to me they should come in as illegals like everybody else. Then our goverment would fight tooth and nail to give them, well everything.

    Maybe this is how you shame California democrats into supporting asylum…no, the shame gene is removed from democrats.

    • #21
  22. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Rodin:

    Fake John Galt

    Seems to me they should come in as illegals like everybody else. Then our goverment would fight tooth and nail to give them, well everything.

    Maybe this is how you shame California democrats into supporting asylum…no, the shame gene is removed from democrats.

    This struck me as well: How can people be so keen on all sorts of relocations, legal or illegal, small or great–& then turn their face away from those whose need is not their only claim, but also law & loyalty? Shamelessness seems to be the answer-

    • #22
  23. captainpower Inactive
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    Re 22

    because they are racist in preference of their own group, and.because they believe hey have a special entitlement

    Victor davis hanson in a recent speech shared on vimeo recounted an anecdote from a debate he had with an illegal immigration proponent. Vdh asked his oponent whether he thought illegal immigration from china was ok and he said no, its different because mexicans have historical rights to american land (presumably that was “stolen” from them and still belongs to them in their minds).

    • #23
  24. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    captainpower:Re 22

    because they are racist in preference of their own group, and.because they believe hey have a special entitlement

    Victor davis hanson in a recent speech shared on vimeo recounted an anecdote from a debate he had with an illegal immigration proponent. Vdh asked his oponent whether he thought illegal immigration from china was ok and he said no, its different because mexicans have historical rights to american land (presumably that was “stolen” from them and still belongs to them in their minds).

    That’s rather amazing, but at the same time perfectly unexceptional. We’re stepping through the looking glass, it sometimes seems–some say, we already have, & everything is weird now…

    • #24
  25. captainpower Inactive
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    on a pc now. here’s a link to the victor davis hanson interview

    [edit] preface to the anecdote is 10:57-11:21

    anecdote is 11:21-13:08

    • #25
  26. Dustoff Inactive
    Dustoff
    @Dustoff

    TITUS

    Well said. Agree that America is first a state of mind. Agree also that denying refuge and safety to those Americans of deed and thought, those individuals who believed in “us” and fought with us, is a sickening failure, in fact a national dishonor on our part.

    • #26
  27. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Titus Techera: Today I read this article by National Review‘s Mr. Nordlinger, who seems to moonlight as conservative America’s man of honor. He remembers and says all the things people with their busy lives cannot remember and say. How does that man live–knowing so many shameful things?

    This is really well said Titus.  I have thought the same thing myself and am glad you chose to state it so eloquently.  I have a lot of admiration for Mr. Nordlinger.

    • #27
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